St. Gregory kids spread love


Many of us take eating a good old-fashioned PB&J sandwich for granted, overlooking the filling American staple. For those less fortunate, however, peanut butter is not only filling, it’s also a great source of nutrition due to its high fat and protein content.

Now, thanks to students at St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Bluffton, who spread the love by collecting 908 jars of the stuff, more area families will find be able to spread the delicious, nutritious goodness.

Some St. Gregory teachers volunteered at the food bank Second Harvest during spring break, said third-grade teacher Paulina Tawil. While stocking the food bank, they learned that people predominantly donate canned vegetables. While those are welcome, the food banks “don’t always get what is really necessary.”

Second Harvest staffers told the volunteers that what they wanted was peanut butter, an excellent non-perishable source of protein, but they never seemed to have enough on hand.

When she went back to teaching after the break, Tawil asked the school’s principal, Sister Canice Adams, if they could turn the drive into a school-wide competition, with the classes in each grade vying against one another for a prize. Sister Canice, who said the school does monthly service projects for area nonprofits, agreed and motivated the students with daily announcements on how many jars of peanut butter they had collected.

About two weeks after the collection began, the seventh graders had collected the most peanut butter. They won a “dress down” day, when they will get to wear their regular clothes instead of uniforms. They also won an afternoon off from school to play ball or take part in other fun outdoor activities, Sister Canice said. She plans on hanging out with them, too.

The sister called the effort “amazing,” and said all of the students “were very excited about it, not just because of the contest, but because they felt they were helping children their ages." She said many of them raised money to buy the peanut butter by doing chores around the house.

Once the competition began, Tawil said, “the stores in the area couldn’t keep peanut butter on the shelves.” More than one grocery employee asked a child purchasing a big supply what in the world they were planning to do with all of it.

Students shared information – at least with others in their class – about which stores had peanut butter on sale, Tawil recalled.
In just about two weeks, the students had collected 1,211 pounds of the stuff. Though they knew the school was having a peanut butter drive, the Second Harvest folks really weren’t prepared when Tawil delivered all that creaminess and crunchiness, Sister said. “Paulina said they had such shocked looks on their faces. They had no clue they’d be getting that many jars.”

Did you know that:

  • People who become hysterical when peanut butter sticks to their palate have arachibutyrophobia.
  • Americans on the West Coast prefer chunky peanut butter, whereas those in the East Coast like it creamy.
  • The average American boy eats 1,500 peanut butter sandwiches before reaching the age of 18.
  • With very high pressure and temperature, peanut butter can be transformed into diamonds.
  • The world's largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich was created on Nov. 6, 1993, in Peanut, Pa., and 40-feet long.